Wednesday, February 10, 2010
IEP Meetings and Virtual School
We knew that the school was looking to end Mr.'s IEP. Mr. has made great progress since his IEP began at age 3. However, the reason Dad and I and the CBA and the Psychiatrist don't want to see the IEP done away with just yet is that Mr. is an ASD child who has significant struggles in life. He is EXTREMELY time oriented and routine and structure oriented and because of that he does okay in school for the most part.
He has however REQUIRED accommodations in order to make it through the school day/week. Accommodations were made in PE for example because of his lack of tolerance for other people touching him.
Another accommodation was regarding visual fears and the SALSA Spanish program at school. His visual fears are abnormal and typical for someone with an ASD diagnosis. He was so terrified that he would go and hid behind the bookshelves in the classroom before the program started. His teacher (who is awesome) made the accommodation for him to attend a second grade class during SALSA time. It is an enrichment program and not for a grade so she was okay with that.
These accommodations should fall under Social Emotional Behavior on the IEP. The IEP coordinator disagrees that Mr.'s behavior is any different than other students his age. Really? As far as I know he is the only one hiding during SALSA time. His CBA and his Psychiatrist feel that this is not typical of other students his age.
We are very blessed to have a teacher that makes accommodations for his social/emotional needs but as the grade levels advance the expectations become more strict and teachers are not there to hand hold and they don't make accommodations unless they are required to because students are expected to be independent. We agree with this and this is what the principal expects. It wasn't always easy for Big Sis to be independent in the school environment but she is capable she is not a ASD student. It is better to help Mr. out on the front end of a potential problem then to try to put out fires (so to speak) on the back end of the problem.
The bottom line is we were able to have his IEP extended into the next school year. Because the teacher shared that he often withdrawals from the class and has to be redirected the Speech Language Pathologist made that a Communication goal to be worked on over the next year. So hooray he has the IEP for the next year and falls under the protective laws that govern the IEP.
Virtual Public School - Big Sis has been requesting to home school. The topics of discussion at school involve sex and drugs already in the 5th grade and she wants to be removed from that. I can't fault her on that. I however did not feel confident in my ability to home school her and to be taking on the complete responsibility for her education. Then I received an e-mail about our counties Virtual Public School. It is awesome! Because it is a public school it is free and so are the supplies such as textbooks and microscopes and whatever else. The child has a teacher that they are in contact with virtually via the computer. Overall the child and their family have the home school schedule flexibility to get their work accomplished however, they have the same curriculum as if they were attending their zoned school, they graduate with a diploma from the county just as if they had graduated from their zoned school, and they have a teacher that they answer to. As certain the teacher will have sessions scheduled where all 6 th grades have to log in at a specific time to learn a particular math concept for instance, but overall there is the home school`` flexibility.
Big Sis is completely excited. The expectations that Dad and I have laid out are that you do the work responsibly and maintain your current grade average or you go back to your zoned school the following year. They ask that you make a one-year commitment because as a virtual school they get their funding on the backend of the school year after the student has completed the curriculum. If they student exits the program they get no reimbursement for the work they put into that students education. I think the one-year commitment is great. If she doesn't like it (which I doubt) then she would go back to her zoned school in 7th grade, which would be when she would be making a school change anyway.
School is Cool! Virtually! hee hee